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September 2019

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The importance of tone of voice in design

The importance of tone of voice in design

When I’ve said something mildly amusing, my sister has a really confusing habit of stating “That was funny” - but with a poker straight face! We’re Scottish so I recognise sarcasm when I hear it, and that’s not it. She means it, but in not teaming it with a laugh, the moment is completely lost while I sit frowning trying to figure out what just happened.

With written web and app content you only have words to work with. No facial expressions, no audible tone, no laughs (!) so you are relying purely on language to create a tone of voice to represent the personality of your brand or service. A tough task but when done well it can be really powerful.

Multiple studies have shown that tone of voice is measurably influential. From this alone users make assumptions around trust and competence, which in turn affects their loyalty to you.


Pick me, pick me!

Your tone of voice can be the sole reason a user chooses you over anyone else.

Informal, relaxed language is perceived as friendlier and more trustworthy, making users more likely to recommend your brand. You may be surprised to find this applies to more serious industries too, like banking. When writing for web it helps to picture how a face to face interaction would be perceived. Less stern people are more approachable and you believe they are representing themselves honestly. A formal voice may come across as intimidating so users can struggle to interact with the brand or relate to it.

I’m not suggesting you need to be a comedian, cracking jokes in every paragraph. If this ran throughout, users would start to question professionalism. Injections of humour now and then are successful as they provide a momentary lift.


Consistency is key

Consistent language with a tone that matches your brand’s other elements persuades users to believe in the service and the intelligence behind it. It gets the message across much more clearly and convincingly too.

Now for the science bit… human beings seek to create a well-founded image of whoever we are communicating with. When we can’t do this we become confused and suspicious which in turn puts us off pursuing a relationship with them.

So there’s no use having a site showcasing an exciting new service available and supporting it with language that’s uninspiring and flat. They may not realise why but it is unlikely to ‘sit right’ with the user and they’ll move on. Much like how I felt about my sister’s response (not that I then proceeded to source an alternative sister).


Seal the deal

Design a voice and tone that will give your brand a likeable personality that is consistent, genuine, reliable and compelling.

Consider the user’s emotional needs at the time of visiting your website or app and alter your language to suit. Really consider why they might be on there in the first place. Tone can be used to reassure them that they are in good hands and what you have to offer will help them to achieve exactly what they set out to do.

It is a good idea to create a well-defined voice and tone and outline this within a guide. You can then arm those providing written content with it. That way your brand will speak in a consistent and well-recognised voice whether this be on your website, social media or newsletter.


Jordana Jeffrey

Created on Wednesday September 11 2019 12:05 AM

Tags: web-design tone voice

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Apple getting health focused and new iPhones!

Apple getting health focused and new iPhones!

It would fair to say I am the office Apple Fanboy. So I am going to live up to that name by writing a blog post about Apple products.  So, to get straight to the point, what am I excited about in the next few months?

Apple Watch: 

While the new Apple Watch 5 will feature small upgrades such a new ceramic case, updated processor and new display, Apple has been adding more heath focused features. Last year, there was the addition of ECG tests which can detect atrial fibrillation (increases your risk for stroke and heart failure) and fall detection that can accurately detect if you have a fall. If there is no input from the user, the emergency services will be contacted and your location shared with them.

The next heath feature rumoured is that the Apple Watch will be capable of detecting the blood sugar lever of diabetics. It is estimated that 1 in 16 people will develop diabetes in their lifetime. Apple have been working on a ‘contactless’ way of measuring blood sugar - at the moment, all products on the market measure this via the user’s bloodstream. This is likely to be the ‘holy grail’ for diabetics. 

This system will allow users to monitor their blood glucose in real time, share their data with friends and relatives, and set customisable alerts to notify them when their glucose levels are getting too high or too low.

There is lots of publicity at the moment for how technology is having a negative impact on our health and Apple’s dive into the health industry certainly reminds us that there can be positives. Is there a future where we all wear these devices for heath benefits? Will not wearing one become as socially unacceptable as not wearing a bike helmet? Only time will tell… 


Apple are going to update their flagship iPhone models: XS and the giant XS max. The most interesting feature of the refreshed models is a triple lens which will make the camera far more versatile, allowing for better zoom and better photos in low light. The new models are rumoured to have the highly mocked notch removed. Competitor’s have enjoyed creating adverts mocking the use of the notch and, as their competition have overcome the issue, it’s likely that they will too.

There will be an increase in CPU performance. The current XS Max (1.52 GHz Quad core) has the same performance score as a 2017 MacBook Pro and we will likely see another large leap on this.

Prices are likely to stay the same starting price at £999 raising to a mind boggling £1449. 

Dan Stephenson

Created on Wednesday September 04 2019 09:00 AM

Tags: apple

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Career Growth (or why you should have plants in the office)

Whether you work from home or at an office, it’s likely that you spend many of your waking hours at work. In fact, British workers will spend an average of 3,515 full days at work over the course of their lifetime (Lucy Skoulding, Accountancy Age, 2018). This being the case, it makes sense to make this environment, in which you spend the majority of your waking hours, a pleasant place to spend…the majority of your waking hours. 

Obviously there are things we have little to no control over. If your company’s office does not have enough natural light for instance, you’re unlikely to be able to request larger windows and a skylight. Unless you work very remotely, you can’t move the office building to a climate that better suits your mood. 

There are however, things you can do to improve your work environment.

It is that easy being green 

Plants - as the title of this post suggests, are a great idea for the office. Don’t just take my word for it though - numerous studies, including a 2010 study by the new University of Technology, Sydney, have found that introducing plants to the office significantly reduces stress among workers. They also boost both creativity and productivity and remove Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air, so you can breath a little more easily. Plants can make an office less noisy, more calming and increase the likelihood that your staff will want to stay and new staff will want to join. All they ask for in return is sunlight, a little water and a repotting once in a while (the plants, not the staff).


Let the sunshine in 

As I said you probably can’t move your office or add new windows but you can make the most of what’s available to you. If there’s natural light available, let it flood into the room to help everyone feel more awake, more positive and help keep their circadian rhythms in check. If more sunlight isn’t really an option at all, go outside during breaks. This can be difficult during the dead of winter when the last thing you want to do is go on a lunchtime outing but the light and the air can help give perspective and make you feel better overall.

Jump around 

For a lot of people working in sedentary jobs, sitting mostly still all day is a ’necessary evil’ that we’ve come to endure. You may have heard that ’sitting is the new smoking’ and read the horrifying effects that sitting at a computer can have on your body over time (eye ache and back pain and headaches, oh my!). This is a complex issue and may not be healed overnight but you can make improvements. If you have the energy to run to/from work (or both during your lunch break) go for it; if you can fit in an exercise class or cycle those are great too but you can also start small. Start by moving around. If you work in an office, go to your coworkers desk rather than emailing them. Get up and move around from time to time. Stretch, go and make that cup of tea. If you must stay seated for long periods at a time, try to move more and change position as you do so. 

Moving forward (and backwards and sideways)

Wherever you work, whatever your working circumstances, you may not be able to wrangle a four day week, a six hour day, or a remote working location on a boat in Vanuatu, but try following the suggestions above and see if it brings more joy to your working day.


Frances Smolinski

Created on Monday September 02 2019 02:27 PM


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